Lincolnshire’s grazing marshes stretch from Grimsby to Gibraltar Point just inland from the coast.
The wildlife of the marshes was once rich and varied with vast swathes of seasonally wet grassland crisscrossed by a network of ditches. The land was dry enough for livestock to graze during the summer months, but created ideal conditions for flocks of waders and birds such as lapwing and snipe. Ditches provided ideal habitat for water voles and otters, dragonflies and damselflies.
The area’s culture and history is closely associated with traditional farming methods using livestock to graze fertile, moisture retaining, ancient pastures where species rich hay meadows were cut for forage. Around the villages, land was cultivated, producing ridge and furrow features. Archaeological evidence shows saltmaking dating from the Bronze and Iron ages and impressive churches mark former wealth and patronage.
Many of the marshes historic features still remain, as do swathes of wet grassland some of which has been recreated in recent years. Visit these areas and you can still experience the solitude, peace, beauty and sometimes wonderment of this vanishing landscape. The spectacle of thousands of golden plover, lapwing, curlew or widgeon is a sight that touches everyone.
The Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marshes Partnership has been working since 2003 to conserve and enhance the marshes for future generations to enjoy.